Kloset Kase Blog


Rock Raiders of the lost dance in crooklyn
October 22, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: culture, dance | Tags:

Courtesy of Youtube, above is a clip of Rob Nasty aka Roberto Sucio (left) of “Forever We Rock” and Rock Bandit (right) battling it out at ‘06 B-Boy Hodown. Pay close attention to Rock Bandit and his superlative finesse. He freestyles in pacing himself quite nicely, and burns only when necessary. Roberto Sucio was chosen as the winner of the 2008-”Rock Raiders of The Lost Art,” 1st official Rocking battle hosted by The 7 Gems. Roberto Sucio’s dance has grown much since this ‘06 footage.

Hey Warriors!!!! Come out and plaaayyy! Well I sure did a few weekends ago when I treated myself to the first official “Rock Dance” battle event in good old Willieburg, on the corner of Roebling and Hope street at formerly known Brooklyn Sole, now Dante’s Lounge. If you’re a junkie for cyphers, no holds-barred, all out dance battles, you would’ve bugged out over this show of wit, endurance and imagination, a pressure cooker of trial and error. For all you virgins, the “Rock Dance,” in its execution, is about having style and flow, knowing how to freestyle, and dancing on the beat. It is said that endurance for the duration of the song is a test of strength, for your average “Rock Dance” tune is about five minutes in length (bust out the Yoga fire breathing); listen to Apache from Incredible Bongo Band. Part of the ritual of the dance is having insane stamina, the last person dancing strong after a five or eight minute song gives way to some serious hunger for the longevity of the beat. A highly respected public display of guts and “having heart”. Any beginning “Rocker’s” most mind-wrecking undertaking is  finding nuances in a rocking song and accentuating them via improvised pantomiming. You have to learn to integrate the dance with mime, jerks and burns (as if ballroom salsa wasn’t hard enough). You should also know where the song breaks, so you know when to jerk (a rocking motion), and in doing so throw in some burns (miming meant to humiliate your opponent). In this you establish your self-glorified take on your improvisational battling skills. (Click on more to see Mr. Loose and Roberto Roena in action).

 

So learning the song and what it’s saying is pivotal to your delivery, timing and contempt towards your rival. Ideally you always want to aim to perform the “compelling story” (anecdote) of the song through the dance, as if you were a messenger bestowing upon us the history of mankind and our salvation, like butter. You should see some of these cats letting it rip, especially the OG’s (old school rockers). Smooth mofo’s.

The three music genres of great influence in this dance are 70’s disco, 70’s salsa (boogaloo style) and hustle. What also defines a “Rocker’s” understanding of this particular dance is the person’s feeling, ability to groove in incorporating all three dance styles. Oh yeah, in addition to learning the technical foundation of the dance, you must also verse yourself on the dance styles to pull from, in letting loose and “getting on da good foot,” James Brown couldn’t have put it any better.

It is said the “Rock Dance” movement began in the late 60’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn, having migrated from street gang violence, where rival gangs battled for territory back in the day. And if you were raised within the vicinity of Williamsburg, Bushwick, Flatbush and Bedstay you would know they were hotbeds for this sort of endeavor.  But that violence soon lost its momentum and the boundaries of “no violence” or “no touching” were firmly put in place. So jerks and burns would replace physical hostility, which would only apply a form of defense in counter-attacking your opponent safely. The movement then shifted in search of a new beginning within the Hip-Hop community, seeking a positive voice for generations to follow. And since then the “Rock Dance” has evolved to what it emotes today, a message of flourishing creativity, advocating peace, love, respect and unity for all “Rock Dance” families. Dance is a true vehicle of Hip-Hop. But it is especially about the learning experience, the discipline and the work you put into it. In this case, the “Rock Dance” is very much alive after all these years and getting stronger by the beat. So break this lesson down however you want to, like a “sex machine.”

Below is my good friend Mr. Loose showing us how it’s done to the sound of a breakin’ tune, not necessarily a rocking song, but evenstill, his level of experience allows him to bust out to any genre of music really. Notice his jerks, they’re sick. He has taken the convential jerk and turned it into art. This true OG (old School) Rocker has the most impressive artistic interpretation of the “Rock Dance,” because he has evolved with it.

And here I leave you off with Roberto Roena, an original master of salsa-boogaloo style.

Dixie

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